Wednesday, November 15, 2006
The Legendary Bob Downe!
I want Bob Downe inside me! Ok, well maybe not - but I would like to touch his rock hard, helmet hair and rest my weary head on the shoulder pad of his polyester leisure suit. Bob Downe, otherwise known as Australian comedian Mark Trevorrow, is nothing short of a phenomenon. After starting as an act in a comedy routine, Bob Downe has gone on to have his own television show, commentate on the Sydney Mardi Gras parade for channel 10, tour extensively with several live shows and most fabulously, release two greatest hits albums and a live jazz album.
It's hard to describe the Bob Downe experience. If you can imagine an even more flamboyant Peter Allen singing lounge songs on acid, then you would be pretty close. The thing I really admire about Bob is the variety in his work. His musical output ranges from covers of Giorgio Moroder dance classics to swinging jazz standards. The only constant is Bob's dedication to all things camp and gay. From the immaculately groomed wig on his head to the white leather loafers on his feet, Bob Downe is a flashback to the flaming homosexuals of the 1970s. I simply can't get enough of Bob Downe. He has been pretty quiet since his last tour, the cleverly titled I BOB (picture below), so I have my fingers crossed that he is scheming up a fabulous comeback. The world needs more Bob Downe and less Justin Timberlake. Fact.
Like the equally amazing Kelly Llorenna, Bob Downe kicked off his recording career with a "Greatest Hits" compilation. The only difference is that Bob had never even released a single! The album is exclusively made up of cover versions and includes two duets with Gina Riley, better known as Kim from "Kath & Kim", who appears under the pseudonym of Coralee Hollow. Bob's "Greatest Hits" also includes two other fabulous duet partners - celebrity drag queen, Vanessa Wagner, and gay comedian, Julian Clary. He joins the latter on an hysterical cover of the French classic "Je t'aime", the full enjoyment of which really depends on your knowledge of the original.
Bob's second recording is the live jazz album, "Jazzy!". "Jazzy!" is a funny record but it also works as a legitimate jazz recording. It was recorded with a full band and several guest performers, including the brilliant Pastel Vespa. "Jazzy!" even received an ARIA nomination, albeit for "Best Comedy Album". Rude! There is even a lengthy monologue about Bob's adventures in London, during which he rants about Dannii Minogue. He can't fool me, I know they secretly love each other!
Things went quiet for a few years until Bob returned with "Huge Hits", which is a bit deceiving as there are only 6 Bob Downe "hits" on there. The rest of the album is a compilation of songs by other artists from the 1970s and early 1980s. Initially somewhat disappointed, "Huge Hits" has become a firm favourite. Not only does Bob write about each song selected, the songs are uniformly fantastic. If I were going to make my own compilation of songs from that era, it would look very similar to Bob's, only with more Olivia Newton-John and Millie Jackson.
"Huge Hits" also saw the release of Bob's first and only single, an amazing cover of "I Will Survive", which was also available on Bob's previous "Greatest Hits".
Since "Huge Hits" Bob Downe has focused on TV and theatre. Seeing Bob live is an unforgettable experience, anyone interested in catching a glimpse of Bob in action can order volumes 1 and 2 of his television show here.
If you like what you hear, Australian Ebay is flooded with Bob's "Huge Hits", while "Jazzy!" was recently re-released and is available at Sanity. Bob's "Greatest Hits" is out of print and harder to find but still turn up occasionally on Ebay.